A Guide to Payment Gateway Architecture

Your Ultimate Guide to Payment Gateway Architecture and Custom Payment Gateways

Overcome payment complexities and challenges with a payment gateway architecture that fits your platform and customer expectations. 
Every single organisation in the world has to manage payments. Regardless of size, location, or volume, you must create a payment’s journey for your customers. The challenge is building a payments architecture capable of handling volumes while you scale and allowing for multiple payment methods to fit user expectations. 
The clue is in the name - payments gateway architecture. You need to architect your payment system to retain critical data within agile storage while ensuring that every transaction is accurate and that downtime is minimal. 

What is a Payment Gateway Architecture?

A payment gateway architecture is a payment design that allows you to collect customer payments using various payment methods. That’s how simple (and how complicated) it is. You use it to collect money from credit cards, debit cards, and bank accounts and transport your customers from the point of purchase to the final transfer of funds. 

Your payment gateway architecture has to be PCI compliant, aligned with the most recent anti-fraud legislation, reliable, robust, secure, agile, flexible, and accessible. It must also be easy to use – your customers want to click and go, not click, wait, try again, wait and maybe then go. It also has to offer multiple payment methods to align with the user’s need to be able to use whichever payment method they prefer.

How a payment processing architecture works

There are four main steps carried out by a payment processing architecture:

Step 01: Request payment from your customer with a personalised payment link from multiple payment methods.

Step 02: Receive payment from whichever method your customer prefers through a trusted payment gateway architecture that follows the process below to authenticate and collect the funds.

Step 03: Your payment gateway collects the information from your customer, encrypts it, and sends it to the acquiring bank. The bank receives the encoded data, decodes it, and sends the payment information request to the relevant payment authority for authorisation. If the transaction is approved, the issuing bank (the bank that belongs to the customer) then sends a message to the payment gateway to confirm that the payment was a success or if it was declined.

Step 04: Record payments with no effort, automate payment admin and generate a paid invoice instantly. 

Payment architecture diagram

Why are payments complex, and how can these be overcome with a successful payment architecture? 

You need to overcome several challenges when architecting payments for your platform. The most important is creating an accurate and seamless payment process that can grow with your platform. Customers don’t appreciate incorrect charges or overly complicated payment systems. These are issues that will make most customers choose another company instead of yours – experiences are critical to retaining customers and building loyalty and the payment experience is one of the most important. 

In addition to ensuring that your payment gateway architecture is smooth and accurate, you also need to ensure that your system is capable of handling four pivotal challenges: 

1. Data retrieval 

Your data needs to be stored in a secure environment that’s accessible on demand for audits, regulatory requirements, customer disputes, refunds and returns. While the payment takes only a few seconds, the information generated by that payment is essential to running your business. You need to retain the data, ensure the integrity of the data, and store the data over the long term in a reliable, robust and secure system.

2. System reliability

Your payment gateway architecture needs to deliver 99.999% uptime. Downtime equals lost revenue that easily scales and hits your revenue and bottom line, hard, if not managed and mitigated. You want a system that’s accurate, transparent, and incredibly reliable. This will not only ensure your data is accurate and consistent, but it will ensure that you have reliable data that can be used for audits, returns, disputes and more. 

3. Risk and compliance

Fraud and theft are always risks that you need to consider, so your payment gateway needs to be capable of providing you and your customers with peace of mind. This means it needs to comply with regulations and protect your customers so you can protect your business reputation. Risk and compliance in payment processing is a challenge that must be considered every step of the way because fraud is only set to increase over the coming years – Statista predicts that this will increase to $38.5 billion by 2027 compared with $32 billion in 2021. 

4. Payment system architecture

You need an actual payment gateway. This isn’t as easy as it sounds because you need to figure out if you’re going to build your own or if you’re going to use one that’s already been developed by someone else. Considering how many regulations and expectations it has to meet, building your own can be intimidating – you need to create your custom payment gateway infrastructure, choose a payment platform, develop a customer relationship management system, embed security, get the right certifications, and smooth over all the bumps, by yourself. 

If you don’t want to create your own payment gateway architecture and invest in the technology and spend on the complexity, you can use an already established payment gateway architecture that’s easy to implement and access and costs significantly less, which leads us to our next question… 

What do you Need to Consider When Choosing a Payment System Architecture?

A trusted and reliable payment system architecture is invaluable. It provides you with instant payment processing that entrances your customers and improves retention while adding layers of critical security, mitigating risks, and ensuring consistent uptime and service delivery. Choosing a payment system design and architecture means you need to tick every one of the following boxes: 

  • Multiple payment options within a secure environment aligned with regulations such as the GDPR, SSL certification, DSS compliance, PCI requirements, and more.
  • It has a distributed system architecture capable of handling thousands of transactions without compromise.
  • An agile architecture that allows for recurring payments and can easily handle changes in demand and volume.

UNIPaaS - Leading the way for payment system design architecture

If you want an agile, scalable, smart, flexible and efficient payment gateway architecture that can evolve with your business, then UNIPaaS has what it takes. 

UNIPaaS is designed to support payment platforms with the tools they need to support scale without draining resources. UNIPaaS uses the latest AWS cloud technologies to solve security and regulatory issues, while Kubernetes provides scalability and speedy service delivery. 

UNIPaaS ensures that you can create an exceptional payments experience that delivers exactly what your customers want and need by providing you with immediate access to a robust solution that fits seamlessly within your environment. UNIPaaS has:

  1. The ability to serve complex multi-vendor models and entities within the transaction flow without compromising on reliability and integrity
  2. A new and improved payment infrastructure that supports multi-vendor models and provides digital platforms with real-time control
  3. A comprehensive view of your entire payment operations and funds flow
  4. A payments system architecture that allows you to maintain efficient operations and that supports your ability to scale with minimal effort
  5. An efficient and secure architecture that supports PCI requirements in an automated system
  6. A microservice architecture that delivers speed, optimisation and clean code within a modern design and infrastructure developed by the world’s most talented engineers

Custom payment gateways versus embedded payment platform architecture 

Creating a custom payment gateway is complicated and expensive. As outlined above, you will carry the burden of compliance and regulatory expectations alongside the costs of the technology, security, troubleshooting, data management and storage, and so much more. 

If you use an existing embedded payment platform architecture, such as the one from UNIPaaS, you bypass these complexities and the ongoing challenges of maintenance, admin, and management in favour of a consistently evolving system capable of meeting your needs. Using our marketplace payment platform, you gain real-time control, a comprehensive view of your payment operations within one centralised dashboard, and access to a flexible architecture that allows you to rapidly implement new services as required. 

This level of scale and capability means that you gain immense strategic value without immense business costs, and you can enjoy all the benefits of a reliable and trusted payment gateway architecture without carrying the admin burdens.